Chemistry:Uranyl sulfate

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Uranyl sulfate
Ball-and-stick model of the uranyl cation
Ball-and-stick model of the sulfate anion
3D model (JSmol)
EC Number
  • anhydrous:: 215-240-3
UN number 2909
Molar mass 366.09 g/mol
Density 3.28 g/cm3 @ 20 °C
27.5 g/100 mL in water at 25 °C
Related compounds
Other anions
Uranyl chloride
Uranyl nitrate
Uranyl carbonate
Related compounds
Uranium dioxide
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Uranyl sulfate describes a family of inorganic compounds with the formula UO2SO4(H2O)n. These salts consist of sulfate, the uranyl ion, and water. They are lemon-yellow solids. Uranyl sulfates are intermediates in some extraction methods used for uranium ores.[1]


The structure of UO2(SO4)(H2O)3.5 is illustrative of the uranyl sulfates. The trans-UO22+ centers are encased in a pentagonal bipyramidal coordination sphere. In the pentagonal plane are five oxygen ligands derived from sulfate and aquo ligands. The compound is a coordination polymer.[2]


Aside from the large scale use in mining, uranyl sulfate finds some use as a negative stain in microscopy and tracer in biology. The Aqueous Homogeneous Reactor experiment, constructed in 1951, circulated a fuel composed of 565 grams of U-235 enriched to 14.7% in the form of uranyl sulfate.

The acid process of milling uranium ores involves precipitating uranyl sulfate from the pregnant leaching solution to produce the semi-refined product referred to as yellowcake.[3]

Related compounds

  • the hydrogen sulfate.[4]
  • potassium uranyl sulfate, K2UO2(SO4)2, which was used by Henri Becquerel in his discovery of radioactivity.


  1. Peehs, Martin; Walter, Thomas; Walter, Sabine; Zemek, Martin (2007). "Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a27_281.pub2. 
  2. Zalkin, Allan; Ruben, Helena; Templeton, David H. (1978). "Structure of a New Uranyl Sulfate Hydrate α-2UO2SO4.7H2O". Inorganic Chemistry 17 (12): 3701–3702. doi:10.1021/ic50190a075. 
  3. "Metallurgy". MQes Uranium Inc.. 
  4. Betke, Ulf; Wickleder, Mathias S. (2012). "Oleum and Sulfuric Acid as Reaction Media: The Actinide Examples UO2(S2O7)-lt (Low temperature), UO2(S2O7)-ht (High temperature), UO2(HSO4)2, An(SO4)2 (An = Th, U), Th4(HSO4)2(SO4)7 and Th(HSO4)2(SO4)". European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2012 (2): 306–317. doi:10.1002/ejic.201100975.